Why Is Sports Betting Illegal in California? A Deep Dive into the Ban

Why Is Sports Betting Illegal in California? A Deep Dive into the Ban

Times are changing. Sports betting and online casinos are becoming a worldwide phenomenon that’s accepted in all corners of the world. Even the always strict United States are giving in, as they should. But, as always, you’ll have those States that oppose changes and are slow to accept them.

As you can guess from our title, California remains adamant not to allow any form of sports betting on its territory. This makes it a rare exception not only in the US but in the world. Why are they like that? Let’s see! 

The History Behind Current Situation

The History Behind Current Situation

California and gambling do not go hand in hand. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a relationship present there. As one could guess, gambling went in two directions in California. Gambling is either accepted at times or it is fully prohibited. Its California history is tumultuous in southwest.

The landscape we have today in The Golden State was created by Native American Casinos. When it comes to casino power and the main players in this domain, we can say that it belongs to tribes. So, sports betting, or the lack of it, is influenced by Native American casinos and the official regulations imposed by the state. 

Ballot Proposition

While sports betting and California are not on the same page as of now, you can still find outlets that operate there according to The Sports Geek. Also, the work on making things fully legal and accepted is ongoing. Have you heard of the most expensive ballot in the history of the us?

It is a gambling proposition in California. The proposal for sports betting acceptance was put before the voter. It came as a massive surprise that the voters almost unanimously rejected the proposal. The initiative was taken in front of the voters by Native American tribes and the whole wagering industry. T

The cost for each side was a staggering $460 million which is only proof of how strong this industry is, and how strong are both powers fighting for their causes. 

The Core of The Conflict

The Core of The Conflict

By now, you have noticed that there are opposing streams regarding sports betting in Cali. The funny part is that everyone wants to fully legalize sports betting in California. But the way they want to do it and handle the entire situation differs. The two propositions go as follows.

One wanted to tie sports betting to tribal casinos and race tracks. The other one wanted to go far beyond that with internet gambling and mobile apps. As you can see the two parties have very different views and interests on the same matter. 

How Did They Go About It? 

We live in the age of the internet, social media platforms, and media in general. So, you can tell that the race was raced through advertisements. The voters didn’t have it easy before the voting. Advertisements for both parties were all over the place in California.

It was easy to advertise as the amount of money raised for both campaigns was record-setting too. You know that it was too much as they went over the sum that was raised by Uber and Lyft during their campaigns.

How does California fare with the Rest of the USA?

How does California fare with the Rest of the USA?

Soon enough they are going to be a sole island and no longer a peninsula of anti-sports betting movement. At the moment more than 60% of the States have legalized sports betting. For this reason alone, it is interesting why California has such issues in getting things done in this department.

Economic interest is there for sure, but as of now, Cali is approaching the issue with caution. So, if you want to have your fair share of gambling in the sunny state of California you are restricted to Native American casinos and horse tracks predominantly while you can also indulge in some state lotteries and various card rooms.

Economy and Politics

You do not have to be Nikola Tesla to recognize the sports betting potential California has. After all, they’re home to some of the biggest franchises in American sports such as the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Rams and Chargers, Sacramento Kings and LA Galaxy.

 With legalized sports betting many of us would have brought the fight to different arenas. The revenue would be high without doubt and economics are clear when it comes to California and sports betting. 

In terms of political involvement regarding this issue, you can bet that both Democrats and Republicans haven’t remained silent. Republicans were against both options, while Democrats opposed only one and remained neutral on the second making the public voting even more interesting. 

What made the debate even more interesting was the approach of a major sports entity that is Major League Baseball that also took a stance regarding this debate making the whole ordeal even more interesting. 

Card Rooms, Fake Promises, and Gambling Giants 

Card Rooms, Fake Promises, and Gambling Giants 

With so many entities getting involved in a matter of a broader interest, card rooms took a stance too. Card rooms are an important part of the California gambling landscape. They argued that sports betting in general would aid their business, but they were also afraid of the monopoly that some tribes and their casinos could have amassed if their proposition passed.  

Furthermore, the participants who pushed their proposal led a massive advertisement campaign on all channels. The question that was raised is the fact that even with a failed proposition many of the promises made were fake or at least deceptive.

Those that took the biggest hit are the companies such as DraftKings and BetMGM who strongly pushed their narratives. The criticism going their way was harsh but well deserved, not that they were shaken too much. 

The Small Issue of Revenue

At the end of the day, casinos and sports betting are all about the money. So, as you can guess the revenue had a massive role to play in the entire debate. Increased revenue for the entire state was promised by both parties.

While this could happen, the millions they were talking about were not a good estimation. Revenue would be there but some of the funds that would be channeled through sports betting would come from people who stopped spending on something else. 

Bottom Line

As you can see, the manner in which California rejected sports betting comes down to its long gambling history, a few political factors, and a lot of economic ones.

While at the moment this subject is not up for debate, the matter will resurface once again without a doubt. California is just too big of a market not to have sports betting within its borders. 

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